Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Articles [NAJP]

And It Don't Stop

Having structured my Sunday evening around the HBO premiere of David Simon's Treme, I got a little queasy when that morning I read a squib revealing more than I knew: that the creator of The Wire was doing a show set in post-Katrina New Orleans. What made me queasy was the news that the show would center around New Orleans music and that one of its chief protagonists was a trombone player. Look, I'm not putting down brass bands and Mardi Gras Indians, I promise. But having just read the first five Google hits for "simon treme review," I wish one of these earnest jokers had in any way suggested that there's a lot of hip-hop in New Orleans--if not, as seems undeniable to me, that the great New Orleans musician of the '00s was Lil Wayne. So for me and my family, the most exciting musical moment of a disappointing 80 minutes was the minute or so when the magnificent Mystikal single "Bouncin' Back (Bumpin' Me Against the Wall)" played in the background at some ruined home or other (and lest anyone suspect I'm retrofitting, "Bouncin' Back" was my number 18 single of the decade when I sent my ballot to Rolling Stone).

Second-best musical moment: the funeral stepping, complete with mournful brass, of the final sequence. Nevertheless, I have no intention of structuring next Sunday around Treme. HBO on Demand makes that an easier call. But it's one I'd make anyway.


By Matt G on April 16, 2010 6:14 AM

You're right on, Bob.

I grew up in Metairie, just outside of New Orleans. And while I later developed an appreciation for jazz, living there as a teenager in the 90s, I can tell you that I and pretty much all of my friends listened almost exclusively to rap, especially local rappers.

There was definitely something cool about the city having its own rap scene that, until Master P broke, got no coverage whatsoever outside of the Gulf Coast. In addition to Mystikal and Juvenile, we liked a bunch of other guys that never did get famous, like Fila Phil, Black Menace, Partners N Crime and the Ruthless Juveniles. Mystikal even used to frequent the bowling alley that I worked at (so did members of Pantera, but that's another story).

By greg Epstein on April 18, 2010 12:38 AM

Yes! Can we please get some real Hip Hop in Treme. I couldn't agree more! Just like you said can we look at this

Articles, Apr. 12, 2010

Charlie Gillett, 1942-2010 Former Editors Perform